Oh, deer, a cow adopted by a deer family- unherd!
Keeping animals captured isn’t natural or humane, as they are sentient and highly intelligent beings. Captive situations are extremely stressful for them just like they are for us, so escaping from enclosures is their way to bring their life back.
Therefore, the rare cases of animals that manage to escape captivity remind us of their right to live life freely, as they deserve.
Bonnie, a 4-month baby cow, made what every living being does when in a near-death situation- she fought for her life. The brown-and-white animal fled her home in Holland, New York, which raises cattle for beef.
She was lucky enough to spend her first month surrounded by family and friends, but after the death of their owner, his family decided to sell the herd.
Bonnie was still very young and reliant on her mother but terrified by the cries of the other cows as they were herded into a livestock trailer, she seized the moment and escaped into the nearest woods.
Yet, even though residents occasionally spotted the animal in the area, no one was able to catch her for weeks.
Meredith Turner-Smith, media relations specialist for Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit devoted to rescuing and caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned farm animals, explained:
“Venturing out of the safety of the forest only for occasional sightings, Bonnie quickly became a local celebrity, dividing the Holland community into two groups: those who were ‘Team Bonnie’ and rooted for her to survive, and those who were determined to shoot and eat her.
Both groups searched for her in the woods — which stayed buried under 3 feet of snow all winter — but aside from quick glimpses, the ‘babe in the woods’ remained hidden. That is until hunters started picking her up on wildlife cameras. And what they saw truly amazed them.”
The cameras hunters placed in the forest captured Bonnie in the company of a herd of deer. The animals became friends, and Bonnie ate, rested, and traveled with the deer.
“Since she had lost her first family (and cattle are herd animals), the deer helped Bonnie survive and accepted her as their own — eating, sleeping and running together! Like a deer, this ‘bovine Bambi’ would disappear into the forest whenever people appeared.”
Bonnie’s story fascinated people, and even paparazzi tried to capture photos of her, but as she was very busy, they were not always successful.
Even though she was surviving, animal lover Becky Bartels, who happened to own Bonnie’s neck of the woods, knew the Bonnie would soon need some help, as the cruel northeast winter was approaching.
Therefore, she started approaching her daily, but Bonnie was afraid of her.
Becky then started trekking through the snow every day, pulling a sled with food and bedding for Bonnie, and she soon gained Bonnie’s trust. The two met every single day at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast.
However, the fairytale didn’t last long.
As some neighbors threatened to kill the poor animal upon sight, Bartel soon needed help herself.
She turned to Farm Sanctuary, and they sent a crew. After a few attempts, they managed to safely corral Bonnie and sedate her, and she was then taken to Farm Sanctuary.
After eight months in the woods, the cow quickly adjusted to the new home in Watkins Glen, New York, made some new friends, and enjoyed all the care and affection she received.
The Sanctuary wrote:
“Bonnie’s journey home was a true community effort; we couldn’t have done it without Becky; the Holland community, who looked out for Bonnie; and our dedicated staff members, who stopped at nothing to help our new friend come home.
Now, you can be a part of her inspiring journey as well! Rescuing farm animals is the easy part — and Bonnie’s rescue was no easy feat. What comes next is just as important, if not more: We need your help to sustain Bonnie’s lifelong, individualized care at Farm Sanctuary.”
Check the video below: